New public works manager on the job

By Mac Christie

Edgar Parreno

The City of Meadow Lake’s new public works manager, Edgar Parreno, started last week, after most recently working in The Pas, Manitoba.

Parreno, 55, started his job on Oct. 17. While he said he’s still getting acquainted with the city, he said he’s looking forward to working in Meadow Lake.

Parreno is originally from the Philippines and part of the reason he took the job was Meadow Lake’s Filipino community.

“My wife wanted to be with other Filipino families,” he said. “So when they interviewed me a month ago I asked how many Asian families live in Meadow Lake and they told me about 200.”

Parreno came to Canada with his wife Teresita and son Michael, now 24, in 1997, where they landed in Vancouver. He then worked on upgrading his engineering degree, because he was a licensed engineer in the Philippines, as well as becoming a Canadian citizen.

After working briefly as a draftsman and estimator in Coquitlam, B.C., the family moved south to Washington State.

However, they were lonely in the area, not having anyone to share holidays with, so Teresita, who has relatives in the Nevada area, asked Parreno if he would apply in Las Vegas.

So Parreno got a job as a civil engineer in Las Vegas.

Then the recession hit.

“I lost my job, my wife lost her job and we lost the house,” Parreno said. “I told my wife,

‘We don’t have anything here in Vegas anymore,’ and besides, I’m not an American, I’m a Canadian.”

Parreno went back to Canada and eventually got a job as the assistant superintendent for the Town of The Pas, where he worked for two years prior to coming to Meadow Lake.

In 2008 their son went back to the Philippines to pursue a nursing degree, where he’s currently in his third year. Parreno noted he went back home because the family couldn’t afford for him to go to school in Canada.

While he’s only been here for two weeks, from what he’s seen so far, he likes Meadow Lake.

“It’s a quiet place. I like that,” he said. “Even though I came from a big city like Las Vegas, as you grow older you like some quiet and calm.”

It’s somewhere he hope’s will be his last career stop.

“I’ll be working until 65,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be with the city for the next 10 years.”

For hobbies, Parreno said he enjoys playing basketball and bowling, as well as running and going to the gym.
As far as his new job is concerned, he’s ready to get going.

“The budget is usually a bit tight in a small town, but that’s okay with me,” he noted. “You have to learn to squeeze that budget.”


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